Customer Reviews


24 Reviews
5 star:
 (12)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale most moving not known to most
I have been visiting the CWGC cemeteries for the past dozen years seeking, recording and photographing the 93 graves and memorials of the Fallen of our local Suffolk Benefice and also as a volunteer for the War Graves Photographic Project. In spite of this experience my understanding of the enormous task that the Commission had to deal with after both the wars has been...
Published 9 months ago by jmkj

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not gripping
I expected that the story behind the setting up of the Imperial War Graves Commission would be compelling but I'm finding this is a book that I only read for a few pages at a time and don't pick up again quickly. There's no doubt that the book has been well researched but it does not flow or draw me into it. If you have a deep interest in WW1 and its aftermath you may...
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale most moving not known to most, 30 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Empires of the Dead: How One Man's Vision Led to the Creation of WW1's War Graves (Hardcover)
I have been visiting the CWGC cemeteries for the past dozen years seeking, recording and photographing the 93 graves and memorials of the Fallen of our local Suffolk Benefice and also as a volunteer for the War Graves Photographic Project. In spite of this experience my understanding of the enormous task that the Commission had to deal with after both the wars has been greatly added to by this absorbing book. It should be widely read as we approach the commemoration of thestart of Great War - as it was termed in my youth.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive account, 31 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Empires of the Dead: How One Man's Vision Led to the Creation of WW1's War Graves (Hardcover)
This is the definitive account of how the war cemeteries of the First World War came into being and of how they have reflected and affected attitudes ever since. No history of that war is complete without it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important reminder of something we now take for granted..., 11 Dec 2013
By 
C. Ball (Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Empires of the Dead: How One Man's Vision Led to the Creation of WW1's War Graves (Hardcover)
The British First World War cemeteries in France and Belgium seem so inevitable now from the distance of a hundred years, so natural, row after row of identical white headstones, serried ranks all facing East (towards the enemy, as they died), all equal in death, no grand monuments to the elevated in rank or title. There is something tremendously beautiful about those cemeteries, a poignancy and a peace that seems very much at odds with how they died. Most cemeteries evoke nothing more than an English country garden, with green lawns, shading trees and herbaceous borders. There is one in Ypres, the Ramparts Cemetery, which could literally be a country garden, with a sloping lawn down to a pond, willow trees, flowers. Somehow the headstones seem to fit.

This was all deliberate, of course, and all the work of the (then) Imperial War Graves Commission and its chief Fabian Ware. Ware started out in France as the head of a Red Cross Ambulance Unit, and as much as recovering live soldiers his work inevitably involved locating and marking the graves of those they could not save. As it would be wont to on the Western Front, the work escalated, and eventually it became a full-time role.

The First World War cemeteries are so much a part of our cultural memory of the war, so much a part of its iconography, that it is easy to forget just how much resistance there was to the concept at all. Many bereaved relatives were dismayed and horrified to learn that they could not bring their loved ones' bodies home, that they could not pay for grand monuments or tombs, that just as they had to sacrifice their sons and brothers and husbands and fathers to the nation in life, they must now do so also in death.

It is testament to Fabian Ware and then (now) Commonwealth War Graves Commission that they overcame this resistance, and the legacy we see now, a hundred years on. The Cenotaph, the Menin Gates, the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, Tyne Cot - all a result of the vision of one man. It is hard to imagine remembering the Great War without these visual reminders. The real genius is how they manage to simultaneously convey the sheer staggering scale of the dead whilst also preserving something of equality and individuality.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Empires of the Dead, 15 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Empires of the Dead: How One Man's Vision Led to the Creation of WW1's War Graves (Hardcover)
Explains the History of the CWGC in detail. Also written and compiled in easy to read format. A great deat of detail but well put together so that it will now be near me whenever I research any reports that , as a Volunteer Field Worker for the Imperial War Museum. I come across. Thank you to the author David Crane
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Unknown Visionary, 23 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Empires of the Dead: How One Man's Vision Led to the Creation of WW1's War Graves (Hardcover)
A fascinating story of a determined man. But amongst other powerful characters like Milner, Kipling, Lutyens etc Ware himself remains something of a cypher. There is much on his achievement, but little revelation of the man, and the inner springs of his determination. Much of the correspondence is official, and one feels that his abiding passion might have spilled over into his personal life and more might have been shown here.
This is a well-written history of the (I)CWGC, and I am aware that it is not biography of Fabian Ware. But I am left with something of the same feeling as when confronted with the great monuments he created: impressive,commanding, painstakingly democratic but somewhat austere and impersonal, without intimacy. For all that, it is a book I will gladly reread and I may in so doing prove myself wrong.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Fine book. But!, 22 Aug 2014
David Crane describes his book 'Empires of the Dead' as a biography. It is hardly that. For whilst its focus is the work of Fabian Ware, the man whose genius spawned the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, we learn virtually nothing of his childhood, only a little of his upbringing, nothing of his wife and family and no mention of his death.

What we do learn of is Fabian Ware and his lifelong project - to honour the dead of the First World War by driving with relentless determination his creation of the multitude of war cemeteries throughout Europe and beyond which we are so fortunate to be able to visit today - timeless reminders of the sacrifice of our grandfathers. Kipling described this achievement as being greater than the building of the pyramids of the pharaohs, and the way Crane tells it, he may well have been right.

I was attracted to the book both by its subject matter and by its author - whose biography of Robert Falcon Scott is a masterpiece. But I have to say that I did not find this work quite such a satisfactory read. The research is prodigious, indeed, at times it is somewhat overwhelming. I felt that there were many instances where research material held up the flow of the story, branching off at a tangent from the central theme. And on too many occasions, I had to grab the dictionary.

But what was excellent about the book was Crane's telling of how and why the Commission came about, and especially about the way the principle of equal treatment for all regardless of race, religion or social position became a byword of the Commission's work, despite the opposition of many, including the understandable misgivings of relatives who were disbarred from having the remains of their loved ones returned home. Arguably without Ware's single-minded determination, instead of the dignified and beautifully kept resting places that we have inherited, we would have had a conglomeration of the grotesque and unmemorable.

But I would have liked to have learnt a little more of the man himself. Was he human? What were his loves and hates? Did he have feelings? Perhaps there is another book somewhere.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not gripping, 21 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I expected that the story behind the setting up of the Imperial War Graves Commission would be compelling but I'm finding this is a book that I only read for a few pages at a time and don't pick up again quickly. There's no doubt that the book has been well researched but it does not flow or draw me into it. If you have a deep interest in WW1 and its aftermath you may find this worth reading but I can't recommend it even to people with more than a passing interest in the topic.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book, 8 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Empires of the Dead: How One Man's Vision Led to the Creation of WW1's War Graves (Hardcover)
Very moving book. I am very interested in WWI and how our world was and is changed by it still. Well written and ponient.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, good and thought provoking read, 8 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Empires of the Dead: How One Man's Vision Led to the Creation of WW1's War Graves (Hardcover)
Fascinating and informative book about a singular man, who was responsible for founding the Imperial War Graves Commission. Prior to the Great War, the casualties of war were generally buried in unmarked graves.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent if you have an interest in the subject., 3 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I found this book absolutely fascinating but then I have an interest in the First World War and the War Graves Commission. Some readers might find ideas and opinions put forward by the author annoying if not patronising. I wish I had bought it as a book not for my Kindle as the pictures would have made it worth while.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Empires of the Dead: How One Man's Vision Led to the Creation of WW1's War Graves
13.34
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews